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Rating the Bears: Cal vs. Idaho State

A special day for special teams.

Special teams are fun again.
Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

We’ve been doing these report cards for many, many seasons. We started in 2009 or 2010, so we’ve seen our fair share of ups and downs. We’ve seen some great defensive performances during the Pendergast years (often followed up by mystifying blowouts) and spectacular offensive fireworks during the Sonny Dykes years. And despite these years and years of games, we have never seen special teams lead all categories in a stellar set of ratings. That changes today.

Average Standard Deviation
Pass Offense 73.8 13.2
Rush Offense 69.0 16.5
Pass Defense 81.0 10.5
Rush Defense 81.5 13.4
Special Teams 83.9 10.0
Coaching 80.9 12.9
Overall 77.0 13.1
Win Probability vs. Oregon 56.9 (+5.8) 15.9 (+1.1)

Ashtyn Davis, Nikko Remigio, take a bow! Their respective kickoff returned for a TD and punt-returned-oh-so-closely-to-a-TD helped cap a solid special-teams performance that also featured a field goal from Greg Thomas, a healthy 43 yards-per-punt from Steven Coutts, and a blocked PAT! I don’t recall a game in which Cal’s special teams earned the highest scores of the day, although I suppose it’s possible in some otherwise forgettable performance in which they were least awful, like the 17–49 loss to Oregon State in 2013. I bet you don’t remember a single thing from that game. But to lead the way on an otherwise strong day? That’s a first!

As is often the case under the Wilcox regime, defense earned higher scores than offense, although the offensive categories look much better than they did a couple weeks ago. Finding a competent, accurate QB will do that. Coaching and overall earn strong scores, and our predictions of a win over Oregon have ticked up slightly since our preseason predictions, although our uncertainty has increased according to the change in the standard deviation. That uncertainty may be because it’s difficult to judge an Oregon team that hasn’t played anyone noteworthy. That will clearly change this weekend when the Lobsterbacks visit Autzen.


Sunshine Pumpers

First let’s look at our highest ratings of the week.

Name Rating
1. David Shaw is a Tree-tard 700 (100.0%)
1. RememberTheCalamo 700 (100.0%)
3. CalBear91 690 (98.6%)
4. KuhlDuck 660.4 (94.3%)
5. nedbear 640 (91.4%)

Everybody’s happy this week, but none are happier than David Shaw’s best buddy and RememberTheCalamo. KuhlDuck’s lofty rating of the Bears may explain that 83% chance of a Cal victory over Oregon. No homerism there!

Old Blues

And there’s certainly no homerism here, among those who provided the lowest ratings of the week.

Name Rating
1. Fire Starkey 410 (58.6%)
2. Goffuhninny 415 (59.3%)
3. Rational Bird Law 425 (60.7%)
4. The Best there is, was, will be 437 (62.4%)
5. royrules22 470 (67.1%)

When the worst scores are around 60%, we’re doing alright.

The Voice of Reason

Finally, those whose scores were closest to the community averages.

Name Deviation
1. Mack 4.10
2. goldenone 4.25
3. FrmrG8r 4.31
4. Rugbear 4.54
5. justbear 4.63

Let’s peruse the comments to see what you all thought of the game.

Any comments on the gameday experience?

Nik Jam - Cal still has work to do to get fans to come to the games. Sure, it was Idaho State, but still a disappointing crowd. Nonetheless, no complaints other than that.

Notthisyear - I hope the officials were not Pac-12. Their performance was so bad one would have to believe they had money on the point spread. Not that the calls were bad but so slanted to one side. Idaho had some clear holdings that were never called, Hats off to Idaho State a overmatched team that only had three penalties for the game????

texashaterforlife - Cannot remember the last time I had to set my DVR to a non-HD channel to record the game but that is what happens when I only have the Pac-12 network’s National feed on HD and not the regional Pac-12 network feed.

What are your thoughts on Cal’s passing game?

Goffuhninny - I think I’d rather just have McIlwain play the whole game. Let’s never throw to Hudson ever again. Our o line is a total disappointment

royrules22 - Garbers played better than before and most of his passes were on the money. That INT was not his fault. The WRs on the other hand... they need work. Honestly at this point, both Hudson and Wharton probably should be benched.

Willis Chong - Serviceable against an FCS team. Too bad we keep shooting ourselves in the foot. Also, Vic needs to straighten things out. He’s a good player, but the fumblies are going to kill us.

On the plus side, we have a TE that caught a meaningful pass! Let’s all have some Bunting Cake!

joeBerkeley - Garbers looked really good. 80% completion percentage and 9 yards/attempt will win us a lot of games. The int was on Hudson.

What are your thoughts on Cal’s running game?

Rick Chen - I fancy Dancy. I would love to see him get more plays, especially if we weren’t going to play Laird. We need to improve our third-down efficiency--at one point we had more fourth-down conversations than on third down!--and the running game is probably our best bet.

Willis Chong - I don’t know if the line isn’t getting the push that it needs, but I feel like Laird just isn’t the guy that ground out yards like last year. If anything, BMC and Dancy seem to fit better being a shifty back, rather than a bruiser back. I don’t know... maybe it’s my imagination. Still, we should have done better than this.

What are your thoughts on Cal’s pass defense?

sacman701 - We gave up one big play and a few dumb penalties and otherwise nothing until garbage time.

the ghost of Joe Roth - With the exception of the one long pass completion they played well.

joeBerkeley - As usual, we played quite well except for the play where our guys knocked each other out of the play and Davis had to chase down the receiver. I’m not really going to rate the backups in the 4th quarter.

What are your thoughts on Cal’s run defense?

Bowlesman80 - Weaver and Special K? Yeah, I pity the fools.

joeBerkeley - Stout against a run-first team. Held them to 3.1 yards per rush for the game.

Jacobs. - If it wasn’t for how amazing our secondary is, I would be blown away by our sturdy run defense...

What are your thoughts on Cal’s special teams?

SlapHappyBear - Cal has a viable replacement in Nikko. Nikko showed he can play too. Kicking feels like we put it through the uprights or their end of the field.

joeBerkeley - I was very glad to see Remigio returning punts. Vic’s recent fumbles merit a chance for the next man and Remigio looks great, almost took one to the house. On kickoffs, we had Davis take one to the house which was awesome and I’m looking forward to more of that.

not applicable - A mixed bag with more sloppy plays than highlight reel plays.

What are your thoughts on the coaching staff’s performance?

Goffuhninny - I believe, deeply, that we have shown very little of our real packages - on d and o, as we begin Pac-12 season.

Bowlesman80 - They are looking like geniuses, right now. BYU upsets Wisconsin, will Cal be ranked? ASU is. Instead of rolling up points, they gave reps to damned near the entire team. Well done.

Rick Chen - We gave up more than a 100 yards on penalties. Penalties also stalled a lot of our drives in the first quarter and gave Idaho State a fighting chance (a score on a fourth down even). We should not be making so many bone-headed mistakes and definitely not to an FCS team.

GrEAT - BB still hasn’t found his mojo.

1988goldenbear - They called a super conservative game in the first half. Punting from their side of the field seemed like an odd call. I was really happy to see that they felt comfortable playing guys that won’t see the field in any other capacity this season - that’s a classy move to get them playing time in a real game.

What are your thoughts on Cal’s overall performance?

SlapHappyBear - They will need Garbers to deliver passes and not get jumpy and leave the pocket. He leaves himself open to get blown up running it all the time. Hope it continues to work. Need to convert 3rd downs. Penalties killed any momentum of the pendulum swinging towards domination of an FCS team. Glad to see some second string players stepping up.

goldenone - A beatdown, with 2 meaningless TDs by IDSU at the end

GrEAT - Any win is important. Did not expect the penalties from this experienced group of players. But lots of players flashed so the coaches will have tape to review and some personnel decisions during the bye week!

the ghost of Joe Roth - Any win is a good win but I love that Wilcox is not letting them off the hook for the sloppy play.

sacalum - A win is a win, but 2 turnovers and 111 in penalty yards will bite us in the butt during the conference schedule.

Willis Chong - Maybe it’s me, but our offense is starting to remind me of the 2007 team with J-Force in the sense that we pushed for a power-running game without a true power running back/O-line. If we get stuffed for an extended period of time, our offense will wear out our awesome defense. Of course, we passed better than that team (at least compared to last-half 2007)

The margin of error is much larger with an FCS team, but I think we will have to work for every win on our Pac-12 schedule.

texashaterforlife - Good satisfaction, but still annoyed about the late game malaise of the defense. That trend could bite us later in the year against a stronger opponent than we have faced so far. Vic Wharton’s fumbles has me a little worried.